In the days following Shelly’s death, Diabo had met with her parents, her place of work but nothing panned out. Back at the station, Det. Diabo once again looked through Shelly’s personal effects trying to understand why she was targeted, wallet with money intact, house keys, car keys, student ID. Something’s missing he thought, but what? An Indigenous woman going missing or being murdered on Vancouver’s downtown east side wasn’t a new phenomenon, it’d been happening for years, decades even but nothing was ever looked into and Diabo’s boss Captain Bertrand wasn’t much help. Call it apathy, ignorance whatever but Diabo knew better…racism and it was systemic. The racism on the force permeated throughout Vancouver and through the rest of Canada like a cancer. The residential schools, 60’s scoop, colonialism all of it had a part in how the country treated it’s Indigenous peoples. Diabo himself had been a survivor, to this day he didn’t like to talk about what went on in those schools but he did know what saved him and they were the elders in his home community of Kahnawake. Now Det. Diabo looked down at Shelly another sister who had fallen because of who she was…an Indigenous woman. Shelly’s only hope now was Dr Palmer, the coroner which is where he headed next. “Did you know her?” said the coroner looking up as Diabo walk into the office. “No I didn’t.” “So young, what a waste.” Dr Palmer the coroner had been on the job for 30 years and had seen too many Indigenous people visit his table. “So what’s the verdict?” “Death by strangulation but what I found is that he took quite a bit of pleasure from it, he took his time with her. I did find something peculiar though, a mark, done postmortem.” “He marked her, why?” “I don’t know exactly but I think he is trying to tell us something, that perhaps she isn’t the first.” “Did you run a check on other unsolved murders involving Indigenous women with a similar mark?” “Yes I did and I even expanded my search to include all of BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan.” “Find anything?” “7 women all with the same M.O and all of which were students from various universities. I believe that we have a serial killer on our hands Det. Diabo.” For a moment the room began to spin.
Detective Thomas Diabo had been with Vancouver police dept for 20 years, a Mohawk from the community of Kahnawake he had moved out here to try to “do some good”. The city was different though, much more segregated than Montreal where he got his start as a police officer. Unfortunately it didn’t go the way he’d wanted and the proof of that was the body of another Indigenous woman lying dead in front him. This scene had become all too common on the city’s downtown east side where many Indigenous people tried and fought to make a living. It was an ugly part of town which was just blocks away from Vancouver’s million dollar condos where the rich hung their hats. Her name was Shelly Dawson, she was a student who volunteered as an out reach worker at the Carnegie, a center which serviced many Indigenous residents. “Hey Chief, looks like another squaw bit it.” Squaw, just another term used by police officers to describe Indigenous women, just another prick in blue. “Don’t call me chief. She was a human being and someones daughter….and if I hear you say Squaw again I’ll make sure you walk the beat for the rest of your career!” He hated the term, to him the title of chief was one of honor but nowadays not so much. “Witnesses?” “None so far.” “Okay, assign two units, I want this alley searched and I don’t care if it takes all night.” “Get her down to the coroners I need the results asap. Any next of kin?” “Yea her parents are on their way down from Port Alberni. They’ll be here tomorrow.”
As many of you know I’m am working on a graphic novel and starting today I will be sharing chapters, every Tuesday I will release a chapter. I’m hoping that this will help to motivate me to write more so I can get this thing done. So here it is, feel free to share.
7th Generation Vol 1
600 years ago
In the deep woods of the wilderness 6 elders sit by a fire warming themselves. They come from different parts of Turtle Island, speak different languages, belong to different nations but on this night they all speak the same language…the language of peace and of wisdom. They have been coming to this place for nearly 400 years to share their wisdom but this year is different, this year there is an urgency for they have all foreseen the coming darkness, a darkness that will bring many tears and a lot of blood. They are the protectors of the land, chosen by the earth mother herself to protect her children. They know that this darkness cannot be stopped so this is why this meeting is so important? Because preparations are needed, an enemy who wears many masks is coming.
“How much time do we have?” “A generation maybe two.” “Creator help us!” “ What do we need to do?” “ What we have always done, teach, teach as many as we can.” “Let them know that the darkness is coming, that our warriors must be prepared, that our healers must protect the children and share the teachings. This enemy is violent, greedy and has no respect for the land.” “And what of our duty to the earth mother?” “ He is still trapped in his prison where he rots.” “But what of the darkness, what if it is able to break him out?” “Our Strongest medicine makes up his prison, he cannot escape.” “But what if he does, the destruction he did the last time he was free cost many warriors their lives.” “If he does escape then we will put him back.” “If he does escape then the upcoming darkness will only get worse and turtle Island will suffer because of it.” “That will not happen, we will help the coming generations become strong, to stand up to the darkness where ever it may lie. That is after all why she chose us.”
From the moment you are born there is someone out there ready to take you, they see you as more of a commodity than a person. They created laws so they could legally destroy you. You are left with soulless men and women who reached into your soul to try and turn you into one of them.
Their stinging words that come from the end of a switch, beating, raping their ideology into your soul. Punishments come when you try to be yourself and as the years go by you slowly begin to disappear. And when they are done with you they toss you aside, leaving you with a lifetime of scars that never truly heal.
Generations of souls with no place to go, ending up on the streets of broken glass and towers of steel, drinking poison to dull the pain. You were taught to hate yourself by, taught to hate your people, your way of life. You continue to walk the path of broken glass and spent needles looking for your next release from the pain.
You want to give up, but you can’t for that goes against their beliefs. You try and escape with a pocket full of memories and a faint hope that the Creator is watching. You meet more lost souls on your journey all seeking to be healed. Together you begin to share stories something which is forbidden but you do it anyway. You soon discover that you are not alone and through these shared stories you have found a new family and a way to heal.
Your new found family invite you to sweat, as the heat rises your memories start to return. You share your story of the soul takers, the empty ones, the aliens who violated your world. As the heat increases, the songs get louder. Loud enough for the Great Spirit to reach down and heal you. For the first time in many years you see your mother, your family all your relations.
Like the tears flowing down your face so do the memories return to your soul, piecing you back together like a broken mirror. And though cracks remain they are there to remind you that you have lived. The Great Spirit leaves one parting lesson, go out she says, go out and find my children, bring them to the sweat , save as many as you can.
So you return to the streets of broken glass and towers of steel. You slowly bring your brothers and sisters to the sweat and together you begin to teach our youth to work together, to heal the land and it’s people. So future generations can grow into their destinies.
I am a man who has made mistakes, I have fallen down
many times but I get up. I continue to grow.
You, want to remember me for who I was not for who I am.
You demean me, you see what you want to see.
I challenge myself. I continue to grow. You tell stories about me.
You try to hurt me.
I fall in love. I continue to grow.
You hate her. You call her a whore.
Together we grow, our love becomes stronger.
You try to break us up.
We build our lives together,
our love creates one more.
Your hatred begins to consume you,
you’re left bitter and cold.
Our love forgives your hate.
Your hate begins to fade,
becoming a distant memory.
Our love continues.